Grant Ager: Scottish social landlords should suspend rent during coronavirus crisis

Well-known housing figure Grant Ager argues that Scotland’s social landlords should consider a three-month rent holiday.

Grant Ager

These are unprecedented times and as such need unprecedented actions.

I feel strongly that to protect vulnerable and low-income families all housing associations/co-operatives should consider not charge any existing tenants who pay rent for a minimum of three months.

What is the difference between this and a mortgage holiday? I believe it would not be difficult for RSLs to negotiate the same on their borrowings and pass the benefits on to tenants.

Do RSLs deserve to have some kind of, excuse the pun, immunity by not taking direct action to protect tenants who after all have contributed to the not insignificant reserves many RSLs hold?

Perhaps fear of the Scottish Housing Regulator is preventing housing associations and co-operatives from taking action. The Regulator should be doing a bit more than simply monitoring the situation. They, as many in the sector, need to stand up and show real leadership and purpose.

I call on chief executives and boards to consider giving tenants a three-month holiday on their rent and for RSLs to share the pain that their communities are feeling.

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Tags: COVID-19

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